30-Day Challenge Module 9
- Read today's module on "The Top 10 Health Benefits of Walking."
- Participate in any cardiovascular activity of your choice for at least 20 minutes.
- Continue to log what you ate today, the portion sizes, and how you felt in your food log.
- Remember that we are to make a salad for at least 4 lunches this coming week. If you would like to try the Baked Sweet Potato & Kale Quinoa Recipe featured in our Recipe Guide CLICK HERE.
The Top 10 Health Benefits of Walking
Walking is a gentle, low-impact form of exercise. It’s easy, free, and suitable for almost everyone. We've been allowing you to choose your cardiovascular activity for this challenge. Many wonder if choosing to walk will give them enough benefits. It's a common misconception that you need to do high intensity exercise to get benefits. Although there are many benefits to high intensity exercise, the one drawback is that it is less likely that you will continue with it for the long-term. So, if you are wondering whether your walking is doing enough, here are 10 of the many wonderful benefits!
1. It strengthens your heart.
Regular walking has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. It lowers the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and keeping blood pressure in check. Walking briskly for up to 30 minutes can help prevent and control high blood pressure, reducing your risk of stroke. It's the simplest positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health.
2. It lowers your risk of chronic disease.
A regular walking program can slash your risk of developing not only heart disease, but type 2 diabetes, asthma, and some cancers as well.
3. It helps keep your weight in check.
In order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories in a day than you eat. The easiest way to do this is by putting one foot in front of the other. Walking also increases muscle mass and the more muscle you have the faster your metabolism, so the more calories you burn even when at rest!
4. It increases energy.
With our busy lifestyles, we can all use more energy! It might seem like a paradox (and the last thing you might feel like doing) but a brisk walk is one of the best natural energizers around. It boosts circulation and increases oxygen supply to each and every cell in your body, helping you to feel more alert and alive. It wakes up stiff joints and eases muscle tension so you feel less sluggish. Always have a mid-afternoon energy slump at work? Head out for a walk at lunchtime instead of sitting in a restaurant or at your desk and see what a difference it makes.
5. It boosts your vitamin D levels.
If you’re walking outside in daylight, you’ll be boosting your body’s stores of vitamin D – a nutrient that’s hard to get from food, but that we can synthesize from exposure to sunlight. Many people in North America are deficient in vitamin D and it’s a nutrient that plays a big role in everything from bone health to immunity. While sun safety is still important, experts agree that exposing as much skin as you can to the sun, in small amounts of time, often throughout the day, without burning, will help you to produce sufficient vitamin D.
6. It can help prevent dementia.
While there is currently no way to prevent dementia, the best evidence shows that regular exercise can help lower your risk. Regular exercise is so effective, it far surpasses any benefits from the drugs that are currently available. Striding out for as little as 20 minutes a day not only boosts and preserves your memory, but also improves your brain function.
7. It helps prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
Walking counts as a weight-bearing activity. It stimulates and strengthens bones increasing their density, which is really important, especially for women. It also helps maintain healthy joints in order to stave off conditions such as arthritis.
8. It tones your muscles.
A good walk can help strengthen and shape your legs, giving great definition to calves, quads and hamstrings and lifting your glutes (buttock muscles). If you really pay attention to your posture as you walk, it can tone your abs too. Not only does this help you to look good, it is an effective way to reduce and prevent low back pain.
9. It boosts immunity and helps avoid sniffles and sneezes.
Every step you take mobilizes immune-system warriors that patrol your nose, throat, and lungs in order to take down invading cold and flu viruses. The benefit lasts for hours afterward – which may explain why people who exercise regularly have fewer colds than those who are inactive. When active people do catch a cold, their symptoms (sneezing, congestion, coughing, and dripping) are also less severe.
10. It makes you happy!
The ability of exercise to boost mood is undisputed. Studies have shown regular, moderate-intensity exercise (such as brisk walking) to be as effective as antidepressants in cases of mild to moderate depression. Getting active releases feel-good endorphins into the bloodstream, reducing stress and anxiety. And don’t forget it’s often a social activity – joining a walking group or meeting friends to walk and chat is a great way to banish feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Moderate activities, such as walking, pose little health risk, but if you have a medical condition, check with your doctor before starting any new physical activity.
If you are not a walker yet, it’s as easy as starting with a few minutes a day. Grab a friend, take your dog along with you, or simply enjoy some time alone. As those endorphins start flowing, notice the sights, sounds, and smells around you. Take a moment to count your blessings, and thank yourself for the wonderful gift of walking! Enjoy!
As a Lifestyle Transformation Coach, my mission and purpose in life is to inspire and empower lifelong positive changes. We understand that making those changes can be difficult and that there is no shame in needing help. All of our 1-on-1 coaching clients receive exclusive access to our entire exercise video library, and can choose to participate in any of our 30-Day Challenges up to six times as part of their coaching package. If you would like to inquire about working with a coach take some time to COMPLETE THIS HEALTH ASSESSMENT.
All Rights Reserved. No part of this program may be reproduced or redistributed without permission in writing from the author. The 30-Day Challenge program does not make any recommendation of medical treatment or medication. No individual should undertake the 30-Day Challenge program or any of its regimens without first consulting and obtaining the informed approval of a licensed medical practitioner.